Carla Bruni 'hurt' by critics of new album
France's first lady admitted she was "hurt" by frosty reactions to her new album as the much-hyped record hit stores across Europe.
France's first lady Carla Bruni admitted Friday she was "hurt" by frosty reactions to her new album by critics of her husband President Nicolas Sarkozy, as the much-hyped record hit stores across Europe.
Half a million people logged on to the web to listen to the third album by
the supermodel-turned-chanteuse, "Comme Si De Rien N'Etait" (Simply), ahead of its official release, according to figures from her record company Naive.
But the 60s-flavoured album has also sparked an outpouring of vitriol on
the Internet by French voters hostile to the right-wing leader.
"Of course it hurts me, but I also find it quite natural," Bruni said in an
interview on RTL radio Friday.
"It's understandable that people can't help mixing up my work as an artist
and my function. Maybe they feel offended by the fact the head of state's wife should make a record," she said.
The 40-year-old Bruni, who married Sarkozy in February after a whirlwind
three-month romance, said she was in a "privileged enough position to be able to handle violent reactions."µ
"Some might say people are only listening to me because of my husband. But they are still listening. I am incredibly lucky to have people listening to me, whatever the reason."
Bruni's record company has said it wants to shift the focus "back onto the
artistic side of things" and the first lady, who cannot go on tour for
security reasons, will appear on France's main evening news Friday to promote the album.
But based on a survey of Internet chat rooms, she has already provoked the ire of Sarkozy's opponents.
"I won't buy it, I won't listen to it, I won't download it, even for free,"
fumed one user, Padre, in one of dozens of hostile posts on the left-wing
Nouvelobs.com website, some calling for an outright "boycott."
Many were scathing about the album itself: on the website of left-wing
newspaper Liberation, Sumiko called it a "pale copy of her first record."
"All those breathy notes just become annoying: you feel like telling her to
have a good cough and give up smoking."
Bruni's first record wowed both critics and the public in 2002, selling two
million copies worldwide, although her second, which put the words of English poets to music, did less well, with 380,000 copies sold.
Though her new status as first lady proved a headache for music critics,
French reviews of the new album, written by Bruni except for three tracks,
have generally been good.
Didier Bouchend'homme, head of programming at Cherie FM radio, said he snapped up the first single "L'Amoureuse" (The Lover) for the station, which caters to women in their 30s and 40s.
"We have always played Carla Bruni, since before she married the
president." But he admitted that "for this album, there are higher
expectations, so there's bound to be more reactions, both positive and
Reviewers in Britain -- where Bruni received rave reviews for her elegance and poise when she accompanied Sarkozy on a state visit in March -- have been unimpressed though.
"First lady... of schmaltz," headlined the Independent newspaper, which
said the former supermodel came across as "simpering and weedy".
The Times dryly noted that it "may be the best album ever made by the wife of a head of state."
The record's 14 tracks include the eyebrow-raising "Ma Came," a
bluegrass-sounding love song that draws a tongue-and-cheek parallel with drug addiction.
But listeners hoping for a peek into the private lives of France's
pre-eminent couple may be disappointed -- only one song "Ta Tienne" (Yours) appears to hint at Bruni's romance with Sarkozy.
"I, who used to make men dance, I give my whole self to you... Let them
curse me, let them damn me. I don't give a stuff," run the lyrics.
Bruni says she has no regrets about making the album, whose proceeds will go to charity, but suggested this week her official functions would take priority from now on.
"If I give enough to my new role, in terms of what I can really do to help
other people, would that not take up all of a person's time?"
(AFP -expatica 2008)